This impressive windproof jacket from Castelli is a top option for use through the autumn and winter.
The main material used here is a Soft Shell fabric from Gore’s Windstopper range (Windstopper comes in several different flavours – it’s not one specific fabric). All the red and white panels are Windstopper, it’s just the black sections on the underside of the arms and across most of the back that are a fleecy and more breathable Roubaix.
Windstopper really does live up to its name by keeping the cold air out and the warm air in, and that makes a humongous difference on a 30 or 40mph descent in December. This version comes with a fairly deep-pile backing for extra insulation, it’s stretchy enough for the close fit not to hamper your movement or cause discomfort, and the outer is nice ’n’ soft – more like a jersey than a waterproof…
Speaking of waterproof, Windstopper is described as ‘water resistant’, but as far as we can tell water doesn’t get through the fabric itself – or, if it does, not very quickly. I'm not suggesting you can do without a waterproof jacket if you wear the Mortirolo in the rain – the seams aren’t taped and the back section isn’t even slightly water resistant – but it’ll keep spray from the road and a bit of drizzle out well enough.
To give you an idea of the level of warmth you get here, I’ve did a steady five-hour ride in 6°C wearing the Mortirolo on top of a thermal base layer and was perfectly comfy. I’d want a mid-layer on as well if the temperature was any colder, but that’s fine – I generally prefer to wear more not-so-insulated layers than fewer thick ones. It gives you more options for different conditions and allows you to take a layer off mid-ride if the temperature or terrain changes. You might be different but it works for me.
Those zips on either side of the chest aren’t pockets, they’re mesh-lined vents – you just open them as far as you need for extra air conditioning. Fair enough, there’s a huge front zip not six inches away, but the advantage of the vents is that they don’t flap. They funnel a surprising amount of cool breeze inside and, of course, you can always open that front zip too if you really start to steam on the tough bits. I stayed comfortable across a wide range of temperatures during testing.
I found the collar high enough and close-fitting enough to keep the chills off, and a sticky-up panel on top adds a touch more coverage around the sides and back. You can fold it inside if you don’t want it there.
Pockets? There are three of ’em in the lower back while a silicone gripper holds the elasticated hem in place. You also get a couple of reflective flashes on the front and a few more at the rear. They’re so subtle you hardly notice them in the daylight, but they’re reasonably noticeable at night.
As for downsides, adjustable rather than elasticated cuffs would provide more temperature control. And you can’t put it in the tumble dryer after washing.
The only other thing is the price. You don’t need us to point out that the Mortirolo isn’t cheap. That said, Gore’s Xenon softshell comes in at £169.99, so it’s not like Castelli’s pricing is way out of line with other products that are out there, although it’s certainly towards the expensive end of the spectrum.
Apart from that, we’ve got no real moans after having used this jacket tons over the past few weeks. We reckon it’s a bit of a looker too, but you can make your own mind up about that.
High-quality Windstopper jacket – pricey, but it keeps the cold air out a treat
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Mortirolo
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Castelli say, "Lucky you. Lucky enough to live where winter isn’t that cold? This is the jacket for you. Front Windstopper® protection keeps the wind off, but not having the membrane on the back prevents you from overheating. It’s just the right mix for less-than-extreme conditions."
Yeah, it's not going to keep you warm in freezing conditions unless you have two or three layers underneath, but you'll get plenty of autumn, winter and spring use out of it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Pricey, but would still consider it
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.